The story so far:
Mary was just about to start lunch when she heard the knock at the door. She looked at the clock in the kitchen and realized it must be Rosalind. She was taking her lunch hour to come over and talk to her about thier family's distant history. She wiped her hands on her apron and proceeded to peer out of the peephole of the heavy wooden door of the livingroom. To her suprise, a frail, elderly lady stood on the porch clasping her purse to her body and a large, weathered envelope in her hand. She unarmed the security system and opened the door to her. "May I help you?" she asked the woman. The woman stood there, looking confused and a little flustered. "I'm sorry to bother you," she began. "I'm looking for the Sardo family." "Well, then, " Mary beamed, "you came to the right house! Please, please come in!" Mary moved aside to allow the elderly woman entrance to her niece's home. The woman stepped inside the doorway and took a long look around the livingroom. "It looks the same as it ever did!" she remarked. "You have been here before?" Mary questioned, wondering what business the woman brought with her. "Oh, my, yes!" she replied. I was dear, dear friends with Angelina and Sophie for many years!" she explained. "My name is Genevieve Chagas," she offered as she made her way to the sofa and sat, never letting go of her purse or the envelope. "Oh really? I am Mary, one of Sophie's daughters!" Mary exclaimed. "How did you know my father?" Genevieve looked her up and down in amazement without uttering a word. "I know you," she remarked. "I remember when you visited here once as a little girl!" Mary smiled. "Would you care for anything to drink?" she offered. "I was just about to make some lunch." "Yes, some cool water would be nice," Genevieve replied. "Well, then, make yourself at home and I'll be right back," Mary called out as she headed for the kitchen to retrieve the water for her visitor.
She returned shortly to find Genevieve standing in front of the fireplace mantel, admiring old family photos. " Thank you, " she said, taking the glass from Mary. "My, these photos bring back so many memories!" she said with a smile. "So, how did you say you knew my father?" Mary questoned as the two retired back to the couch. "Oh, we all go back to the thirties!" she began. Angie and I went to school together before we took jobs at the old cannery that used to be right down at the bottom of that hill," she said as she pointed out the window to the place where the highway now ran through. "We were so young! So much has changed! It's nice to see that her children have kept this house in the family and maintained it so well! I must admit, I did not expect to find anyone here that knew my dear friends. I came by a little over a week ago and didn't find anyone at home, but a kind fellow told me in passing that the owner would be home later, so I decided to come again when I was up to it....I have health issues, you know....some days are better than others for me.....so here I am!" "So you are!" Mary wondered what was keeping Rosalind and tried to hurry the conversation along. "Well, Toni isn't here," she offered. "My niece had an accident and is recovering in the hospital." "Oh my goodness!" Genevieve looked as concerned as if she were her own family member. "Is she alright?" she asked. "She is improving every day," Mary said, her patience waning. "Well, I won't keep you then," Genevieve's caring voice continued.
"May I leave something with you for her?" she asked. She reached out the envelope towards Mary. There was one word inscribed in simple handwriting upon it...."Sardo". "Why certainly!" Mary confirmed as she took the package from her. "May I ask what's in it?" Mary queried. Genevieve looked back at the pictures on the mantelplace with distant eyes. "Quite a few years ago, before Sophie passed away, God rest his soul, he and Angie came to our home for dinner and our weekly Canasta game..." she continued. "After a few rounds, the boys retired to the den to share cigars and a glass of wine, as always, as Angie and I cleaned the dishes and folded up the card table and chairs. We went to join them, as always, to talk about all of the good times we shared as young friends and couples. But this one night was different. As we approached the room to join them, the talking stopped abruptly and my husband, Dom, God rest his soul, shoved something into his pants pocket. The look in his eyes took me by suprise as they stood up to great us.....it was so strange.....he said Sophie was tired and they needed to be going. Angie hurried over to him and fussed about to see what the matter was, but he said he was fine.... just a little tired.... and thought it best if they made a short evening of it. We said our good-byes and they left."
"A few years later, Sophie passed away. I had all but forgotton the whole incident when my Dominic came to me one night before bed. He went to his safe and unlocked it and pulled out this very envelope," she said, pointing to the package in my hands. "He sat down on the bed beside me with a grave look on his face that scared me. I asked him what the matter was and he turned that envelope over and over in his hands, silently, as I searched his face for an answer. He finally looked up at me and told me his secret. Sophie had given him a letter to pass on to his family after both he and Angie had passed away. He said that there was important information about his daughter's family in Boston on it that he thought his family should know about, but made it very clear to my husband that Angie should never see it." Mary's eyes opened wide as she realized this letter might be about her! She became less inclined to rush her out of the house and allowed her to continue her story. "It was all very complicated, he told me, and he had given his word to Sophie that he would deliver the letter when the time was right. Dominic was concerned that the day would come that he, too, would pass away...that maybe that day would come before he could keep his promise to our dear friend, and he made me swear on the Bible that if he could not deliver the letter, that I would. I took the oath, swearing never to mention a word of it to Angie and we locked the letter back in the safe, never mentioning a word of it to eachother, again."
"And now?" Mary did not know what to say as she looked intently at that envelope, wondering what secrets it held inside. "Well, my dear Dom passed away a year after that....cancer...didn't even know he had it! And since then, Angie has passed away, too, God rest her soul. I am the only one left and my health is failing me, you know. I figured it was time to pass this on to it's rightful owners." Genevieve looked at Mary, not knowing what else to say. "Well, thank you," Mary said gratefully. " I will make sure the family gets this" she added. Genevieve took a last sip of water and thanked her host as she stood up to take her leave. "Thank you for your time," she said as she turned before existing the door. "It was wonderful seeing this place and you, again!" She smiled warmly at her and turned back to the door. Mary helped her across the porch and down the steps to her car. She watched and waived as Genevieve pulled out onto the street and slowly drove away.
As the car drove out of sight, she composed herself and hurried back into the house to examine the mystery in the envelope. She took it carefully in her hands as she took her place before it on the couch where she had received it just a while ago. Shakily, she turned it over and over, wondering if she should open it. She held it up to the light streaming in from the window hoping to catch a word or two beneath the thin piece of paper seperating them. She decided to open it and went to the hallway to pull out a letter opener from the drawer in the phone stand. She placed the instrument carefully to the corner of the envelope and started to penetrate the protective covering. The blaring ring of the phone startled her immensly and she dropped both the letter and opener to the ground and picked up the receiver. "Hello?" she answered, shaking. "Aunt Mary...it's Rosalind," she heard. "Are you on your way...." she was cut off as Rosalind blurted out the news...."She opened her eyes! Mary! Toni is awake !!!!"